Seattle Pastor: Violence Happens In The Dark When Nobody Is Looking | KUOW News and Information

Seattle Pastor: Violence Happens In The Dark When Nobody Is Looking

Aug 16, 2015

Get outside. Talk to your neighbors.

That’s the advice of Minister Gregory Banks of First A.M.E. Church.

He was talking about the recent spate of shootings in central and south Seattle. Shooting incidents in the city have increased 33 percent over last year.

“One of the things that I think that people can do to make a difference is to talk to your neighbors,” Banks said. “Come out of your homes. Violence happens in the dark, and it happens when nobody is looking.

"When I see somebody walk by my house and I say hello to them, no matter what they look like, what it says to them is, 'I've been seen. And if I'm thinking of doing something criminal, I'm not going to do it because somebody saw me. They spoke to me.'”

Banks is part of a group of pastors in the area who have made it their mission to hold a vigil after each shooting.

His cousin was killed in a shooting recently in Skyway. On Saturday, Banks held a vigil for him.

And there was more violence over the weekend. A man was killed in a shooting near Pike Street and Melrose Avenue on Capitol Hill. Seattle police said the number of shell casings spread out over a block and a half indicated that multiple people had fired weapons.

"I remember each and every one of them," Banks said of the victims. "They are just in my head and the last couple of months, I've seen people that I know personally being killed."

He mentioned the case of Torrence Spillers, who was shot to death in early July in the Central Area.

"I've known Torrence since he was probably about 11 or 12 years old. I watched him grow up." Banks said. "You know when I first started this I knew that at some point it was going to start getting more and more personal.

"And so it's very heart-wrenching for me right now."